"Even if we only help one patient, we can still make a difference"

Nicole Horevoorts, researcher and project leader PROFILES

PROFILES is an initiative of Tilburg University and the Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Organisation. Before PROFILES came her way, Nicole Horevoorts worked at a commercial marketing agency. There she discovered that she is good at investigating and getting to the bottom of things. As a researcher, project manager, and logistics coordinator with PROFILES, she has very varied tasks. “I think it is important to do something useful and to work towards improving care. In addition, I am working in a terrific team.”

Making a difference

After successful treatment, many cancer survivors are no longer under medical supervision: after five years, they are completely on their own. PROFILES started to measure the quality of life of these former patients by administering questionnaires. "Our research has shown that this group of patients have all kinds of problems: mental problems, but also such difficulties as getting a mortgage. We now monitor patients from the moment they are diagnosed.

At PROFILES, we try to help as many people as possible. Our motto is: even if we can only help one patient, we can still make a difference in his or her life.”

Access to data

"The problem in science is that many researchers refuse to share their data. However, we feel that it is important that the data are accessible.

We use public money so our data are public property as well.We often receive positive feedback. The data are concrete and can serve as a tool for medical specialists.”

Personal satisfaction

"PROFILES' objective is to improve care and aftercare to cancer patients and survivors. Although the survey is anonymous, some patients do give us calls to tell us their stories.

I once talked to a lady who was completely down in the dumps. She told me the sad story of how she had lost her husband and children. I advised this lady to see a medical psychologist. The difference with a ‘normal’ therapist is that a medical psychologist can take the patient’s medical file into account. This lady later phoned me back to thank me. That gave me great personal satisfaction.”